Patricia Krenwinkel, the infamous Charles Manson devotee, was recommended for parole today for the first time since her imprisonment more than 50 years ago. Currently, she is the longest serving female prisoner in the state of California.
Krenwinkel took part in both nights of the notorious Tate-LaBianca murder spree which left seven dead in August of 1969. One of the victims, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Krenwinkel stabbed 28 times on the front lawn of actress Sharon Tate’s home on Cielo Drive.
The crimes shocked the nation and as the trial went on, Krenwinkle and fellow Family cult members Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten gained further notoriety for carving Xs into their foreheads. Throughout the legal proceedings, they appeared unrepentant and even proud.
In 1971, when Krenwinkel was 24 years old, she was sentenced to seven counts of first-degree murder and put on California’s death row. However, the death sentence was soon commuted to life in prison after a court ruling the following year overturned the death penalty in the state.
In the years since, Krenwinkel has distanced herself from the Manson Family and maintains a perfect prison record. While incarcerated, she’s received a Bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of La Verne and takes part in the programs Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Despite her steps toward rehabilitation, Krenwinkel’s appeal for parole has been 14 times. But today’s decision by a California parole board may offer her a new chance. Since the last time she was denied parole, in 2017, new laws have been enacted which encourage the state to consider an inmate’s age at the time of the crime, plus the face that she is now an older prisoner.
But freedom is no sure thing. The new parole recommendation must now be reviewed by the state parole board’s legal division before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a final decision within the next five months.